michael, may you now be at peace: a reflection (no. 86)


michael…  the more all of this craziness happens, the more i want to withdraw…  i feel as if i got caught in the middle of something.  well, it’s not that i have a problem with discussing what i have learned about everything regarding your transcendence so far; again, i  just feel like i am running into walls.

in this funny way i feel trapped with this information and a whole bunch of people to share it with, in the end only agreeing to dis-agree on many things.  while agreeing to dis-agree is fine (it’s something i do all the time), it appears as though what i have to say brings out the desire to argue in others- EVEN THOUGH i clearly state that i am respectfully agreeing to dis-agree.  we have become so inundated with information that we think we know everything on the subjects we are speaking about, despite studying as little as possible (aka only the things we agree with).  so when someone challenges our ‘knowledge’ in any way, that is a call to battle, an insult to our sensibilities/ego.

this isn’t anything i personally started- the snowball effect began long before i willingly responded.  all the debate about whether or not it’s really you singing on certain songs on this upcoming album…  the claims from some that this album represents you as a proverbial ‘sacrificial lamb’, victim to a corporation’s sinister desires to hawk any product with your name on it…  the theories that you are the man behind the curtain, orchestrating this whole unfolding…  all of this is creating unnecessary drama, prompting cultural wars between the fan base.  of course, fans have always fought over you, declaring a certain level of authenticity due to some material item owned, or knowledge of rare music…  ultimately, one’s relationship to you is going to be subjective, and not necessarily a space for comparison or debate.  the best example i can think of is a child, who does not own any of your albums, but may have seen you in a book, on the radio or on a stage, and thus may become transformed by their relative experience.  it’s impossible to deny that child whatever experience they shared with you.  the same idea should apply to adults as well.


i have willingly entered many situations, attempting to explain my reasonings for not supporting this upcoming album (amongst other ventures), and i just keep seeing a significant philosophical shift.  there are some who are torn on whether or not they want to purchase the album, DVD, etc.  and there are others who are DEFINITELY purchasing these products because (a. they want to hear ‘new music’ from you, and (b. they think it will contribute to supporting your mother and children.

sony’s role here (in terms of this whole ‘michael or not michael’ debacle is to obfuscate, to distract.  to create rifts between communities through controversy.  people who were once sure of something now do not know, and are wavering.  you have people saying, ‘i have been a fan, listening to his music for 30 years.  i have ALL the albums, b-sides and more.  and i KNOW he is singing in that song.  anybody who thinks different is ignorant.’

the list of arguments go on and on.  of most significance is the argument of NOT purchasing the album will prove to sony (and the dreaded media) that you are no longer valid to your fan and support base.  in my eyes this very action of an economic boycott towards sony and AEG regarding your art would empower the fan base.  if fans and advocates displayed a support similar to what was shown during the 2005 trial- as well as during the 2002 ‘sony  sucks’ campaign, there would resonate a power so brilliant- with the probability of altering the way these corporations look at the music listener.

many fans so much as write the official site owned by sony bearing your name, asking why there have been no official releases of some live performances, or songs…  if there were to be a full on boycott of their products, sony may have to just listen instead of assuming they know what people want.

also, what with the contentious relationship eventually had with the company in the last few years of your life, the callous behavior towards your catalog (namely, the ignorance of ‘this is it’ being a song under a different title, released years ago)to me is symbolic of their disregard for your teachings, and catalog.  even though i cannot fault people for wanting to connect with you in some way posthumously; it’s still troubling to me that, despite knowing your history with sony they would still financially support the company.

perhaps i am being too idealistic.


i woke up from another dream…  i was in egypt with my house-mate, who works with clowns…  you know him, he was the one who performed in the show back in may.  we were there, because he was performing again.  i happened to be there, and as he went off to prepare for his shows i went off my way.  suddenly, my sister and mother show up, and we three are driving around the city (i cannot tell you which one though; the irony is that this dream city was remarkably like any heavily-populated city in the states).  there were some signs and awnings written in arabic, but the vast majority of what i saw was in english.  i was quite vocal about my inquiry into the major department/’big box’ stores all along the roads…  there were so many of them, replacing local markets.  at some points (in the same driving trip) there was a male driver accompanying us; at other points my mother was driving.

we parked the car at some point, to go walking around.  i spotted a record store along the crowded street we parked on and my sister went with me, as our mother walked in a different direction.  i ran inside to partake in the joy of record digging.  it took a bit longer for my sister to come in.  no sooner than i ran in, i ran back out, screaming “THAT’S NOT HIM!!!”

they were playing one of the songs from your ‘new’ album.  as soon as i heard the chords- and that voice- my body went tense, and i screamed.  the store clerks initially looked bewildered, but as soon as i ran out the store i looked at their faces, and noticed they knew exactly what i was talking about.  my sister was certainly confused though, screaming at me, wondering what I was causing a commotion about.  “MICHAEL!  IT’S NOT MICHAEL!”

and of course, i opened my eyes.


with the other dreams i’ve been having lately, there is a sense of a lesson; a vision.  a warning, even.  here, i am not so sure.  i’m already adamant in my refusal to financially support the organization which i believe played a part in your transcendence.  me screaming about how what i heard was not you, i am not sure how this situation is going to be altered.  i am but one person.  my dream is not going to convince every other person in the world to support a boycott.

and perhaps the dream was telling me just that.  that all of this really ISN’T you.  all of this infighting.  all of this debate about whether or not a vocal impersonator is taking your place. this protest about what sony and AEG are doing to your legacy…  and even all of the talk about how you were a victim (and a member) of the ‘illuminati’ and how they finally got to you.

because ultimately even THAT conversation is a distraction.  really, this IS about how executives at some major organizations are single-handedly sabotaging what you stood for, by tampering with your art with the stroke of a pen.  and they are doing it on the backs (and wallets) of those who will purchase anything with your name on it.


when i listen to you, i hear a person who was a survivor, in a wealth of ways.  through my eyes, you took what you had with all the pains, and made a decision to present the role of a teacher to the world, despite (or BECAUSE OF) the pain being overwhelmingly evident.  the physical self inevitably must succumb to the elements; what is left behind will remain with those who choose to embody those lessons.

it’s time for me to acknowledge the fact that there are those who are going to be convinced by their emotional connection to you, that purchasing any of these posthumous products will maintain this level of connection.  it’s not up to me to judge these individuals, as their relationship to you is different than my relationship to you.  i am just worried that their being swayed by advertising, album art, music videos or ‘official letters’ will minimize their dedication to research; as well as any sort of conviction previously had, in relation to questioning sony’s intentions.   is it possible to be steadfast in your beliefs/loyal to a person when you support organizations which directly attack that person’s sensibilities?  would that be seen as betrayal, even if unintentional?


it’s important for me to remember that whatever sony, AEG, the ‘estate’, your blood relatives, the press, your fans, your adversaries, or ANYONE ELSE does, that is NOT going to alter the relationship i have with you.  it is not going to transform my relationship to your teachings.  NOR is any of this going to transform your teachings.

because sony, AEG, the ‘estate’ and others are not even interested in your teachings.  they are consumed with how your IMAGE is going to sell.  they are in the business of selling perceptions.  if people are going to attach themselves to an image (as sold by sony, or anyone else) there is not much i can do about that.  all i can do is continue to share your teachings with others, and warn them about what they are doing to your legacy.  those who want to engage, it is certainly welcomed.  despite its urgency, it is not my intention to force anyone into a belief system.

i am still learning, still figuring out things in this world.  it’s getting smaller and smaller, but it is still a big world out there.  as always, i hope i am doing you some justice.

love, jamilah


About jamilah

i think about a lot of things, and sometimes i write about them.
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